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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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We started this war with great motives and high ideals and we published
the Atlantic Charter and then spat on it and stamped it and burnt it, as it
were, at the stake, and now nothing is left of it.
(Rhys Davies, House of Commons, March 1, 1945).
One Polish soldier was heard to comment, " On the boundless ocean they
signed the Atlantic Charter of freedom for the world . . . and on the im-
prisoned Black Sea, in Russia, they signed the Black Charter of Slavery and
Death for our people ..."
The British Parliament was the one free institution in Europe where
the men of every existing party in the country could speak freely on the
politics of their own and other governments and the principles of
This Parliament., which in the early days of 1945, ^a^ sat *& debate
on the £ hard bargaining' undertaken at the Crimea, was the more
responsible for the action of its Government, for it was these same men,
the same representatives of Britain who had encouraged Poland to
withstand the Nazi fury in 1939, and under whose auspices the Anglo-
Polish Treaty was signed, and who, through its leaders had issued promise
after promise, swearing to fight until the independence of Poland was
restored. This was the Parliament who had declared war and driven
Chamberlain out for not being warlike enough. The Conservative Party
had made the Treaty with Poland and the others had supported it with
every emphasis. They had been unanimously firm in their determination
to fulfil this Treaty. On this ground Henderson had spoken firmly to
Hitler on August 29, 1939 :—
" We in England regarded it as absurd that Britain should be supposed
by the German Government to consider the crushing of Germany as a
settled policy. We held it to be no less astonishing that anyone in Germany
should doubt for a moment that we would not fight for Poland if her in-
dependence or her interests were threatened. Our word was our word,
and we had never and would never break it." Hitler said he wanted
Britain's friendship. Henderson asked, <€ What value would he place on
our friendship if we began it by disloyalty to a friend ? "
It was over five years ago. During this period Poland had fulfilled her
part of the Treaty—she had fought under circumstances and on a scale
unequalled by any other nation of the world. Her country was in the
grip of a super-human terror, her people dispersed from the Atlantic
to the Pacific throughout Europe and Russian Asia, but where-ever
they were they fought against the Germans. They fought for Poland
and Britain, as for the unique stronghold of European freedom, hoping
that from this stronghold would come their liberation. Millions of Poles
gave their lives in the battle of the Underground in Poland but thousands